An epic open-world awaits us! Brought to life by the award-winning Nemesis System, we must go behind enemy lines to forge our army, conquer fortresses and dominate Mordor from within as we prepare to confront the full power of the Dark Lord Sauron and his Ringwraiths in this epic new story of Middle-earth. Forge a new Ring of Power, conquer fortresses in massive battles and dominate Mordor with your personal orc army in Middle-earth: Shadow of War!
The fate of Mordor rests upon the choices you’ll make. So weigh them with your life, because Nothing Will be Forgotten.
This awesome bonus is valid on purchases made between the 26th of September 2017 and 12th of December 2017 so get in quick! This is a register to redeem promotion so once you’ve geared up with your new hardware simple visit the website below and follow the steps along.
The MasterPulse MH320 is a new Gaming Headset option from Cooler Master, an over-ear headset with perfectly angled leather ear cups on a springy, flexible steel frame that’s extremely lightweight. The angle of the earcups is somewhat unique in the way that it fits, having this slight tilt allows for your ears to be enveloped, providing full cup coverage without pressing down on the back of your ear – CM get another point here for making the cups themselves slightly deeper than most. The headset is all black, with no extras like LED lighting or ear cup volume controls to be seen, it doesn’t require special drivers and connects via 2x 3mm cables. On this cable you’ll find in-line volume and mute controls for the mic – and this mic is where Cooler Master really got things right!
In order to really test this microphone out we’ve jumped into a quick game of Overwatch choosing a combo of Bastian and Reinhardt to encourage a little team communication 🙂 We are side by side in this test and if you listen closely you can hear a little echo but not much – nicely done Cooler Master!
Even though the MH320 is clearly designed to be a low-cost Gaming Headset option, the microphone of the MH320 is solid, it does indeed amplify your voice while ignoring the other sounds around you (like that sweet mechanical keyboard) and does this by utilizing a sensitive, boom microphone which boosts mic clarity and sensitivity while reducing background noises – it gives your voice a little robotic clang but really does do what matters, boosting your voice while eliminating sounds coming from other sources.
Recently we managed to get our hands on a very new gaming laptop from Gigabyte, an ultra slim and light AERO 14 with a GTX 1050 Ti inside! This was perfect as we really wanted to check out the GTX 1050Ti Laptop performance a game called Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, but before we jump into gameplay FPS tests let’s take a quick look at the laptops full specs and design.
The Aero 14 is ultra thin and light, weighing in at around 2KG while being less than 2cm thick – it’s packing a popular intel i7-7700HQ quad core CPU with a 4GB GTX 1050Ti and 16GB of DDR4 ram. The display is a beautiful anti-glare 2560×1440 IPS, edged entirely in black with just a dash of orange and carbon fibre on the back of the laptop.
Inputs and Outputs…
3x USB 3.0
1x Mini DisplayPort 1x HDMI 2.0 (4K savvy)
1x ThunderBolt 3!
1x 3.5mm Audio Combo (headphone and mic)
In addition to these, it also has a built in webcam and microphone which is good, a Kensington lock point and a nice white LED backlit keyboard for late night gaming. That ThunderBolt 3 port is great to see too, you can use these to attach an external graphics card boosting the power of your gaming laptop into that of top tier of desktop gaming systems!
Performance is general use is excellent, with the NVMe M.2 SSD inside booting into Windows 10 took around 4 seconds, with battery life under extreme load (playing Path of Exile while live streaming via OBS with FaceRig running) which gave us just over an hour (1 hour 1 min 17 seconds) – as a side note here, gaming performance is excellent on battery with the Aero 14, we recorded everything including the 20% battery tipping point when a laptop will automatically switch from the Nvidia graphics to intel integrated – let us know if you want to see this and we’ll cut out the boring bits then upload for you to check out on YouTube 🙂
Must be time to jump into some PUBG! (literally)
The game begins with an airdrop onto the island where 100 players proceed to battle it out until the last man standing is declared the winner. We specifically captured the 60-second gameplay video below to include the parachute landing, item grabbing and a player kill, while in a level with the heavy rain weather effect active.
This is because we’ve heard from players having issues on low/mid range systems, specifically when the player first lands, the specific issue being that the buildings and items have not entirely loaded in! This would almost certainly lead to disaster as these opening moments are a rush for weapons to defend yourself with.
As you can see in the video below, the Aero 14 GTX 1050 Ti Gaming Laptop has no such issues and we are able to gear up even in this densely contested area 🙂
We then continued straight on from the gameplay above, dodging crazy people with crowbars and getting into firefights – we even managed to get flash-banged yet survived!
For all tests we ran with the fans set to auto, you can use the included Gigabyte Smart Manager software package to tweak this but auto works perfectly, ramping up and down the fan speeds when needed.
Overall we’ve loved spending time with this laptop, the design is so nice and physical build is of the highest quality, the intel/nvidia hardware combination is superb and that Pantone certified display, along with the Dolby speakers is both suprising and beautiful. Best of all though, now that we’ve had a really good go with the new GTX 1050 Ti Gaming Laptop we can happily give it our GGPC Recommends Award – The Gigabyte Aero 14 GTX 1050 Ti is GOOD!
Hello from GGPC NZ! This is our first in a new hardware testing while streaming series
The method is a pretty simple one, we’re going to be checking out a range of gaming gear in live streams to see what it’s like – videos are unedited, straight up live tests.
A quick note on why you’d want to have nice direction mic like this one from GGPC Warlock – “not only is the sound quality great but with a little time spent tweaking the position you happily chat away while gaming without having the sounds from your keyboard blasting over the broadcast :)”
For our first test, NZ Twitch Streamer SCRAXER has kindly helped out by taking a Blue Snowball iCE microphone and used this in a quick match of Player Unknown Battlegrounds. From here the microphone will do the rounds visiting three different gamers in total, no instruction is given to any of the gamers involved and as each has a go with the Snowball iCE we’ll begin linking to each players experience within our PC Gaming Blog here at GGPC New Zealand.
Via Scraxer: Setup for the Snowball iCE was pretty straight forward, plug and play with a single USB connection. The microphone does need to be quite close to you to pickup voice communication clearly and I highly recommend getting a scissor stand & pop filter if you’re using this mic while streaming games. Once you’ve got the microphone into a good position you can speak quite softly and still be heard clearly, it’s one-directional audio input means if you look away and talk it often won’t pick this up. I was seriously surprised by the recording quality of the Snowball iCE, considering it’s a pretty low price option among the range – looking forward to testing more!
Via ATTACK ON GEEK“In order to provide quality content as a podcaster, web-show host or even a video-game streamer, the quality of sound is especially important. Gone are the days of fiddling about with built in PC microphones, which provide only the bare minimum when it comes to quality. Now there are various high-end sound recorders and microphones, along with a plethora of sound mixing software, which are able to provide the best possible audio quality. However, despite the range available, only a few are actually simple and easy enough to use.”
From here the Snowball iCE made its way to Gabbu 🙂 She’s already started streaming with the mic and you can check out more live streams coming up this weekend – we’ll update with all the latest good stuff as her testing continues!
Via Gabbu: I played around with some configurations and found when the mic was behind the keyboard, typing sounds were too harsh, so having it in front was best. ideally, a floating boom would be the best option just from a space perspective.
Gabbu has kindly saved a replay of her gaming session while playing and chatting away with the Snowball iCE on her desk, click the image below and check it out!
The G613 is a next generation wireless keyboard perfect for living room gamers who are looking for the satisfying click of mechanical switches and the freedom of wireless 🙂 Logitech have used their new LIGHTSPEEDwireless technology as well and this delivers a mind-blowing 1 ms report rate for super-fast and responsive gaming, this is the same professional-grade wireless solution that’s built into the exceptional G703 and G903 wireless gaming mice.
They’ve made it savvy for the lounge by fitting a solid wrist rest onto the front, it’s also a little bit longer than the G413 with the additional G-Keys lined up on the left for gamers.
Being a living room savvy device Logitech have also taken care of a few additional features to make this keyboard even better – along the top you’ll find a host of quick media control buttons, these will allow you to quickly adjust volume, fast-forward, rewind and all that good stuff, what’s even cooler though is that Logitech have included Bluetooth connectivity as well as wireless, and with a quick-change button up beside the media controls you can hot swap between devices with ease! Included with the keyboard is also a nice smartphone stand as well, similar to the one included with the G910 Orion Spectrum but this time in black.
Romer-G mechanical switches deliver precise mechanical performance with that signature ultra fast actuation we love, for those newbies coming to this new switch from something like a cherry blue, what makes the Romer-G switches so good is that your key-presses register at just 1.5 mm depth, around 25% faster than normal mechanical switches providing great response times in game – once you’re used to it 😛 Unlike many of the Logitech G mechanical keyboards we’ve been seeing recently, the G613 has got six dedicated macro G-keys so installing the Logitech Gaming Software is still a must even without the RGB options – it is a little odd to have keyboard without LED lighting now, but on the other hand we do understand, sacrifices must be made for battery life – there is a button that will light up though, the battery life warning indicator turns on when you’re down to 10% apparently 🙂
Logitech boasts that we’ll get 18 months of battery life on the two AA-batteries included with the kit – we’ll update our GGPC PC Gaming Blog with the latest as we test this new gaming keyboard out!
As we uploaded our first GGPC YouTube video however, we realised this was going to be a tough one to show you… the problem being that our maximum frame rate using the built-in Nvidia Shadowplay Game Capture is just 60FPS and the frames displayed on our screen were going as high as 120FPS!
With the Destiny 2 BETA underway we decided to jump in and see what this awesome laptop could do, testing first to see what our base FPS would be like at 1080p with low settings before tweaking upwards to get our 60FPS target on the highest settings possible, we found the best settings for this in Destiny 2 on the P57Xv7 was to run with MSAA turned on (crazy heavy!) and high settings across the board with textures tweaked up to the highest settings.
If we turned the MSAA setting down to SMAA our framerate skyrocketed upwards allowing us to capture between 90-120 FPS even with the resolution increased to 2560×1440, we are using the in-built FPS counter, found within the gameplay settings tab in Destiny 2, but we’ve also captured another test with our temperature and CPU/GPU usage stats up top left if you’re interested in checking these out.
Jumping into some Overwatch we turned everything up that we could, customising the EPIC preset to increase the antialiasing quality right up to ULTRA – SMAA HIGH (odd that epic doesn’t include this as standard right?) and also pushed our resolution all the way to 2560×1440. It’s nice that this higher resolution is available (some P57x models even have 4K!) and even better still to see that still supported a blazing 120Hz! Even with these extremely high settings though we still spent most of our time enjoying a crisp 90FPS, which, after experiencing the super visuals on the laptop itself, just isn’t done justice in the video below!
From here we decided to move into some Battlefield 1 and encountered a similar issue, even at the highest settings with our resolution set to 2560×1440 we were getting frame rates well into the 80’s – lucky for us the map rotation eventually swung around to the Amiens City which is notoriously heavy late game and we were able to snap a quick shadowplay with plenty of explosions, tanks, players and smoke everywhere helping to drop our FPS around 60 🙂
From here we moved into testing out our favourite space sim at the moment – the still-in-development Star Citizen \o/ We played with the settings for a while and found the best setup (right now, it changes with each update) is to play at 1080P with the graphics preset on HIGH. This gives you all the coolest effects like ambient occlusion and also adds some extra definition to the “space clouds” which I feel gives you something to visually gauge your speed and direction – turning things down to the lower preset does free up around 20 more FPS though so we captured a quick Shadowplay for those settings as well.
We decided to round off our gaming tests with a bit of Black Desert Online and set off on an adventure! Finding ourselves in an Orc village at dawn with rain pelting down we tweaked our settings for a smooth and beautiful combat experience at 1440p 🙂
Gaming performance aside there are a lot of things to like about this laptop, yet again the build quality is good with very little flex on the screen, the hinges on the screen are robust (and still orange) and if you tip the laptop upside-down you’ll see the impressive dual exhaust cooling system which, when at 100% speed (a setting we highly doubt you’ll use, auto is fine) has a noise output that is reminiscent of the noise from a kettle boiling. It’s packing most of the features we look for in a modern system like AC Wireless, Bluetooth, USB Type C, and HDMI 2.0 for 4K 60FPS, sadly no DisplayPort this time but ours did have a Blu Ray drive hidden on the front! The laptop has a nice white LED keyboard backlight that can be switched between half strength, full, off and of course auto mode which adjusts to suit the lighting around you
Battery on the P57Xv7 lasted us 1 hour & 11 mins at full brightness while looping videos which was excellent, we ran all the tests above with the fan profile set to auto which revs the cooling up and down as needed. As with our previous tests with the P57Xv6 we again set out to restrict airflow so we could see when things started to throttle and noted 90 degrees as the tipping point to watch with the CPU usage – during these high temps we still had no system crashes or instability.
Overall it’s been a pleasure to game with, and the Gigabyte P57Xv7 with it’s GTX 1070 + i7-7700HQ combo is most definitely good – on that note we happily give this fine gaming laptop our GGPC recommends award – the P57Xv7 is GOOD!
Gear up with AMD Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7 or RX 560, RX 570 or RX 580 then register to redeem to get early access to QUAKE CHAMPIONS and a sweet FREE BONUS, the “Champions Pack”.
Showcase your speed, skill and style in the arena with access to ALL of the game’s Champions, which includes an additional skin for Ranger, and an AMD exclusive Radeon Ruby skin for Nyx 🙂
This awesome bonus is valid on purchases made between the 22nd of August 2017 and 29th of October 2017 so get in quick!
This is a register to redeem promotion, with two different ways to get your code depending on if you purchase an AMD RX Graphics Card or Ryzen CPU, so once you’ve geared up with your new hardware simply visit the websites below and follow the steps along.
Packed with blazing-fast action and explosive rocket jumps you know and love, step into the arena with Quake Champions and access your arsenal of powerful and unique weapons. There are no loadouts, and no limit to the number of guns you can carry, just pure VS action!
Another great SilverStone chassis called the RVZ-03 has just landed in New Zealand and we couldn’t resist opening it up to see what improvements they’ve made over the already excellent Raven series we’ve been loving since it’s original release back in 2014!
Starting off with the packaging this little chassis comes in a very sturdy black box which is easiest to open up from the large flat sides, rather than the top like regular sized cases we usually see. Once you’ve opened it up you’ll see a neatly foam packed chassis inside, enclosed within a scratch safe protective black bag.
Removing the outer protective packaging and opening every up reveals a massive assortment of goodies inside, all neatly arranged within clear bags. Amongst all this we’ve got all our essential screws, cable ties and brackets but also SilverStone have included 3x magnetic fan dust filters which are great to see, especially considering this small form-factor gaming chassis is very likely going to end up in the living room 🙂
Taking a closer look at the chassis itself we find an additional 2x 120mm low profile fans have been included with this case, both along the graphics card bay. These SilverStone LP fans are thin but extremely good at both moving air (1500rpm) and remaining pretty quiet (800rpm sweet spot) – which is quite the task for any small build like this as the CPU and GPU chambers can get pretty warm when you’re gaming – from our previous experience building in small chassis, the graphics card fans have to work quite hard and without adequate ventilation like this, they can get pretty darn hot!
Even though it’s really small the case is able to fit long graphics cards up to 33cm long, including aftermarket versions with various degrees of thickness still fitting (we’ll check just how fat you can go in our first build) and to hold these firmly in place you’ll find a four pack of 3M adhesive domes that can be positioned as needed to hold your chosen graphics card securely.
For the CPU bay we have space for cooling options up to 8.3cm tall, so if you’re thinking of grabbing a new Ryzen 3, the included Wraith Spire cooler is going to fit, Ryzen motherboard wise with the case having ITX form factor we recommend getting something like the GA-AB350N which also features WiFi onboard.
When choosing a power supply for your build you’ll also need to ensure this fits within the 15cm caddy, something like the EVGA SuperNOVA 550w is perfect – going modular here will free up more space inside your build for better airflow.
The RVZ-03 Mini PC Case has two front USB 3.0 ports on the front of the case along with twin 3.5mm ports, for connecting a gaming headset, but this latest version now also sports a really nice looking RGB trim along the front which is connected to an included LSB01 RGB controller!
We can’t wait to show you our mini PC builds with this exciting new case (as I write this we’ve already begun building some cool GTX 1050Ti, GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 builds with a range of different power supplies) and will update this blog with pictures from each, but anyways – onto the best bit – Those talented engineers at SilverStone have created an exceptionally good chassis here, not only is this one of the best options for building a small Gaming PC, but they’ve improved upon their already excellent Raven mini series by allowing for that larger power supply to be fitted, often reducing the total system cost and providing more options to those wanting to build a PC that’s small. The RGB lighting is nice to see also (pun intended), even more so with such a nice controller included in the kit, combine that with the 3x 120mm fans included and the value of the chassis really shines – on that note we happily give this case our GGPC Recommends Award – The SilverStone RVZ-03 is GOOD!